Monday, December 20, 2010

Depression In Men

Yesterday The Adelaide Advertiser published this article on Depression and I have been thinking long and hard about it and as this is my blog I thought I would write about Depression.

Why? Well there seems to be an awful lot of it going around and well "gulp" I was diagnosed about three years ago.

My world came apart, me depression - "What you talkin' about Willis". The number of friends and business acquaintances who stood back in disbelief Jimbo has depression.

So what does this mean to me and how the hell did I get here. My observations that in Men we simply have this implied role model that says tough, self sufficient, bread winner etc. and that is so driven into us that we have lost emotional communicative skills.

I read the other day marriages have fallen to an average life span of 12.5 years. We clearly do not know how to communicate with our Bride. We are unable to share because that is weak, and even when we do it is clumsy and as such poorly received and almost treated with contempt.

We are also guilty of poor choice of confidant and often turn to other women as women have inherent good listening skills. Try and have a deep and meaningful with your best bloke mate. Very few know how to deal with his mate opening up and may never actually recover from the experience :) Therein lies the loss of trust in marriages we do not communicate with our wife/lover/girlfriend because to show we are soft inside does not fit the role model. When our loved one finds we have shared with another woman it is immediately seen as a betrayal - probably not without good cause but we do not know any different.

Work ethic also has a lot to do it - we laugh about that Pizza ad where Dad's Tip to his son was "work hard and love your Mum". Unfortunately that is all to true - it is the staple diet of the Aussie Male. So to be successful in life work hard is all we know and I am afraid to say that can become almost obsessive and driven into us from the day we can comprehend. How many gave there young son a wheelbarrow and a shovel for Christmas so his son can work in the backyard alongside Dad.

So the scene is set, blokes are tough and work hard and should not share their feelings.

I know at a young age I decided that I was going to make it. At school even in my last year I was the 9 stone ringing wet little guy (I know - what happened because I sure do not look like that now) who suffered his fair share of bullying - but I was going to make it. There it started I worked on a bit of everything succeeded as a lightweight rower, ran Music Competitions, took parts in plays and became more heavily involved in the production side. Yep I was good at it.

So when I started work I took that go the extra yard mentality and would always put myself out ahead of others. Ran cash collection centres for Channel 10 Xmas Appeal (the whole 24 hours), Secretary and Committee man in Adelaide Jaycees, organised Miss South Australia and many other Fundraisers, Secretary of the Social Club, Organiser of the Ten Pin Bowling, played a bit of Cricket for relaxation until water skiing every weekend took over, worked with my father in law restoring his AESL Air Tourer 150,became heavily involved in SACOSS Committee on Adoption - not happy until I was Chairman. Sat on the Minister of Community Welfare Adoption Panel - volunteered to do every appeal board. And all of the time working hard and being successful at it.

Notice something here - in amongst all of this I was married had children - have not mentioned them until now. Wife and Children the true love of my life. Believe me I do - would die for them.

Then it started - working bees at the Kindergarten, Committee member of everything, Coach of the tee-ball team, President of the PeeWee Baseball and Teeball club at school, football committee, regional football committee, YMCA Explorers with my Sons but no not happy, Group Captain, Regional Captain. When my children changed schools we joined a baseball Club (East Torrens) worked on getting more people involved went from 40 kids playing to 500. President of the Junior Baseball and then President of the Club. Not happy there joined the Board of the SABL - not happy there became the President and representative on the National Board. When I retired from that joined the MS Board in SA and went on to be on the National Board.

During this last burst started a New Business that went on to have branches in Australia and New Zealand and all of the trauma that goes with being in business.Did that for 20 years.

What is still missing here, certainly a lot of what I did was for my Kids, Sport,YMCA etc but was it? My Kids certainly had great opportunities in everything they did but still what is missing.

MY WIFE MY KIDS AND ACTUALLY TAKING TIME OUT FOR THEM AND HAVING FUN.

Fun my middle son laughed at me last night - Dad have fun he said. I am very lucky my kids love me heaps - just reckon I am a crazy old man :)

I am not saying we did not have fun along the way we had lots - what I am saying is when did we stop and live the moment - not enough jumping in puddles - skinny dipping on beaches not enough our time not enough me time.

I am extraordinarily proud of the things I have achieved my business, the work I have done in all of those extra curricular events.

Then you hit the wall - you realise that you actually do not know how to live - yeah very proud of achievements but did not stop and live. Crushing - you are only remembered for that hole you leave in the bucket of water - what happened to all those people that you were able to give a good time what do all those achievements mean.

Yep worked hard and still love me Mum been very good at it but the reality you have looked after number one and in that you actually do not know how to live with that person you love. I would give it all away if I could have that back.

They call that depression I am sad, shitty, divorced and dealing with it but equally I reckon I earn it. Counseling etc is useful but it is me who needs to fix it and I am.

The sadness further to me is in moving on I now have to change almost 60 years of learned traits and that is new - when it come to matters of the heart I am just a novice, in fact a klutz is probably the better word. I recently tried again to have a meaningful relationship but the pressures of my business life lead me down that path. I have fallen in love a couple of times along the way but smashing that old "work hard and love your Mum" syndrome is hard.

I genuinely loved my wife and really love my children and grandchild and more recently my partner. Still do - but that passion to be involved to try and make a difference and to work hard at it still makes me a veritable cripple when it comes to love and emotion. Dad's, blokes generally we just do not know how to stop being blokey.

Depressed absolutely, I earned it and you cannot stop me getting out of it my way - just love me for who I am a genuine hardworking bloke who just wants to love and oh yeah be loved.

I looked back at this before I published and realised that this brief summary of all the things I have put into this life is nothing more than that a brief summary of how I forgot the basics.

Cannot say it better than this:-



Oh and by the way guys there is help and there are people who will listen and try and point you down the right path and I guess there is someone out there who will love you. Male or female because blokes like us will eventually send our partners down the same path to depression....

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?
Lifeline on 13 11 14 in South Autralia
SANE helpline on 1800 187 263 in South Australia.
http://www.transformedself.com.au/index.html
http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/index.cfm

9 comments:

Murfomurf said...

Goodonya for "coming out"- maybe some other blokes will too. Sometimes I think that people who are involved in "outside the home" activities all the time are actually trying to "cover over" something about themselves that they feel is inadequate. Or- like some others- they are trying to block their thoughts as they can't bear them- someone I know talks all the time to achieve it. You're right that you just have to talk to an expert and try to change the way you think about things in your life. I find the pills really help in spite of the side effects; (I can't drink wine with mine). There's maybe a quiet lady out there somewhere (definitely not a party animal), who will catch your eye one day and fill the other empty spot in your life! Then you can do stuff you both like together and REALLY get to LIKE each other as human beings on a day to day basis. It's easy to be happy then!
Steve lost his hard-working brother to depression several years ago- on that day his family had no idea they would never see him again- he never said anything. Talk talk talk- and write.

JimBob51 said...

I fell in love again - I unfortunately allowed the old formula (not entirely able to change it yet) to take over and now I have lost it again. That is sad, I am sad because when I love it is forever.

JimBob51 said...

To those guys who have contacted me privately and intend sharing it with their mates thank you.

Charlie said...

i find this one a hard one to respond to because as a close friend and trusted confidant i have only ever come across a bloke who is caring, loving and supportive. not just of me - but of others as well... i understand the pressure that personal relationships place on you - but i see that as a sense of trying to do the right thing and sometimes feeling like a failure.

i reckon because you succeed in business you go there to feel good.

i hope, because you deserve it, that you succeed in a close relationship as well. we all deserve happiness.

thankyou for always being there for me... and i hope to continue to always being there for you when you need me Jimbo. and not just to comment on your blog!!

JimBob51 said...

I wrote this and quite deliberately left my recent relationship in a private way (that is one of the major reasons it failed not Private enough). The article is written acknowledging over 40 years of the 'work hard and love your Mum ethic'. Just saying I know that all of these years I have been a cripple in emotional communication because of that ethic and invite men to a)take on the article in the paper b)talk about things with your partner (failed again I have)c)acknowledge that in many ways the old paradigm is a set up and has to change - why do marriages only last 12.5 years these days?

Wrote this article as a reflection of the journey inviting men to think and contribute their ideas about their journey.What are their ideas on their journey. It is interesting that Jeff Kennett was one of the first to acknowledge depression and I am sure will admit that he slips from time to time. If I knew then what I know now I would then I would have changed it. But that is too late. What I am kicking myself for is not being smart enough to see it and change it.

Love you honey

Shelley Heath said...

Thank you for telling your story Jim, I am sure it will help others.

My father also buried himself in work at the University.Unlike you getting involved in the kid's extra curricular activities, my father did not... for him it was all the University and university students. For him it all came to an end about 30 years ago when he too came down with depression... he has been treated for it ever since.

My mother followed him down the depressive path about 3 years later and she too is also still being treated for depression.

My first dance with depression was around the 10 year old mark (my family has not been big on emotional communication) , but it wasn't until my early 20s that I was first treated for it.

I thought I was ok when I went to Bundaberg for work (away from my psychiatrist and the negative energy of depressed parents) that I went off the medication. For the next 12 years I had my occasion dip into the black side but pretended I was ok and buried myself in work (yep women can do that too).

It wasn't until I was made redundant 3 years ago that I crumbled. But for 18 months I pretended I was ok and became more and more of a hermit. This was easy as my family was in Brisbane and the only friends I had in Bundy were work ones... I wasn't really missed.

After 18 months my mother finally convinced me that I needed to go back and see the psychiatrist (the family shrink). I did and he put me into New Farm Clinic (private psych hospital) that night. Over the past 18 months I have spent 5 months in hospital and had 14 sessions of Electro Convulsive Therapy. Thankfully now I see a future, I have stopped dwelling on the past as it can't be changed.

It is a hard road back from depression I agree, but it is possible. I am sure you will find love again and this time for keeps.

Quinny said...

Jim and I have worked so hard to try and have a normal "happy" relationship, but unfortunately lots of things were against us from the moment we met, Jim would be the first to tell you this (broken marriage of 39 years, (met a year later) not ready, business problems, depression and sometimes interference) and yes us trying to fit in learning about each other... As people know, only two people in a relationship know whats really happening behind closed doors, regardless of what one hears or presumes.

Iv tried to say very little to friends about us since around April this year (were together 26 months) because others were getting very tired of hearing our troubles etc etc and rightly so, I was tired of hearing it too, plus it was causing divisions between friendships and that is not what I wanted, we have beautiful friends and I would like it to stay that way. Yes Im a private person, some people are some or not, I just wanted US to work things out for ourselves Privately (rightly or wrongly) because with all the other stuff/stress we had to deal with, that's all we had (something about us) in many ways,

Sometimes its hard for really good friends to let go and let their friend be the main person in someone Else's life, but life does go on. Jim is a loving, caring and supportive friend to everyone which is great for everyone, but Im human enough to say hey don't forget me sometimes. But who doesn't, I have my bad days, Im fallible, have flaws, not perfect, stress, have ugly days, to fat, hair not right, not listening, unreasonable, lazy days, need everything done today day, bitchy.. in other words just a girl..and definately not perfect.. we have all said things about others good and bad that's the nature of life/beast, but mostly it stays between couples, so I'v learnt a lot.

All I can say is I gave my all to Jim 110%..my love, my heart and all of my support. Jim and I know our relationship and that's all I care about. I have and always will support him, regardless of our issues, which are due mainly to his business woes and some of his depression, which to me go hand in hand. On top of that he met this Independent female (me) who came into his life (wrong time)and he had to get used to how another female lived, loved and just is, this after after being with one woman for 39 years, so it was with a lot of love we tried to work against all the other issues. I am very proud of his strength and endurance which would of killed a lesser man. As he said to me the other day Im still his very best friend. we talk txt nearly every day. He always has my support regardless of our issues. yes we have moments where we wont talk for a couple of days, but he always has my support. But I don't need to comment daily, or write 100 things a day to support that or what I feel, life has more meaning for me than that. Thank goodness we're all different.

Love is not supposed to be that hard I have been told, but then ours never had the fresh start of getting to know each other, the lovey dovey start of romance..(Never saw a happy jim always stressed) everything else was in our way!!.... I cant say what is going to happen in the future, who can, Im know Im not the type to have a boyfriend every six months, that's not me, so then we try to work things out!!...

Jim has stated he likes talking to others, mainly woman because men dont have the same empathy or compassion, understand in one way, in another I have my moments when I want to be the only woman he confides to about certain things in his life. I just wanted to share some private moments of our life together, just the two of us. Am I the only woman who ever wanted that.To feel loved above all others, to share secrets, to laugh, to know what we say to each other goes no further, to have trust, loyalty and respect for each other. Maybe I have a different view of what love is all about, and that's my problem!!..

Quinny said...

All I can say is I gave my all to Jim 110%..my love, my heart and all of my support. Jim and I know the issues in our relationship and that's all I care about. I have and always will support him, regardless of our issues, which are due mainly to his business woes and some of his depression, which to me go hand in hand. On top of that he met this Independent female (me) who came into his life (wrong time)and he had to get used to how another female lived, loved and just is, this after after being with one woman for 39 years, so it was with a lot of love we tried to work against all the other issues. I am very proud of his strength and endurance which would of killed a lesser man. As he said to me the other day Im still his very best friend and up until couple days ago we talked, txted all the time. He always had my support regardless of our issues. yes we have moments where we wont talk for a couple of days, but he always had my support. I don't need to comment daily, or write 100 things a day to support that or what I feel, life has more meaning for me than that. Thank goodness we're all different.

Love is not supposed to be that hard I have been told, but then ours never had the fresh start of getting to know each other, the lovey dovey start of romance..(Never saw a really happy jim always stressed) everything else was in our way!!.... I cant say what is going to happen in the future, who can, Im know Im not the type to have a boyfriend every six months, that's not me, so then we try to work things out!!...

In saying that, the less said the better, then there's no angst. Sometimes I just wanted privacy for Jim and I to work things out, because at the end of the day, that's all it involved, Jim and I, no one else. Jim has stated he likes talking to others, mainly woman because men dont have the same empathy or compassion, understand in one way, in another I have my moments when I want to be the only woman he confides to about certain things in his life. I just wanted to share some private moments of our life together, just the two of us. Am I the only woman who ever wanted that.To feel loved above all others, to share secrets, to laugh, to know what we say to each other goes no further, to have trust, loyalty and respect for each other. Maybe I have a different view of what love is all about, and that's my problem!!..xo

JimBob51 said...

Well there you go this has been a good discussion. Thanks Charlie for your kind words. Thanks to Murfomurf whom has faced her own Blackdog issues.

Shelley and I have been online mates for a long time now and I really appreciate the friendship and the sharing of some deep personal experiences.

Then there is Quinny whom has put her side of the story in such a wonderful caring way. Beautiful lady beautiful sentiment.

We must stop and think about the people who live with someone with depression - because we all experience our own depression at various points along the way everyone of us. Life circumstances demand it. The denial of so many people as to their own place in this latest statistic whom has depression. We all hide it in our own way, alcohol, anger, tears etc.

People we are allowed it is how we come out the other side that counts.

Thanks for your support and I hope others can gain some insight into what we are talking about.